Highway fix imminent
Thursday, 8th March, 2012
By Erica Visser
The Barrier Highway will be reopened much sooner than expected with the construction on a detour road starting today.
The closure occurred after a bridge at Pine Creek just past Cockburn, collapsed in torrential rain last week.
A temporary bridge is on its way from Queensland but it could take up to a fortnight for it to arrive.
The detour will be built by local contractor, Steve Radford, and will extend around the side of the creek.
South Australian Director of Road and Traffic Management, Paul Gelston, said that the decision to build a detour was made after a meeting with Mr Radford yesterday morning.
“We decided to go with the temporary road option after we met with Mr Radford,” Mr Gelston said.
“I understand he’ll either get out there and start today or tomorrow.
“Our priority was always and continues to be to get the Barrier Highway open as quickly as possible.”
Mr Gelston said that the cost of construction would be negotiated with the contractor in the coming days.
“We’ll be working on determining a price with the contractors,” he said.
“There is a risk that there could be further damage if significant rain occurs but our priority remains to open the road.”
Storms are forecast for Wednesday next week with a high chance of rain, according to the Weather Channel.
Mr Radford was on site yesterday afternoon but said he would not know how long the temporary road would take to build until this morning.
Meanwhile, Buses R Us NSW Regional Manager, Trevor Cutjar, said he was angry about how it had taken to reopen the Adelaide road.
The service has had to change its route due to the closure of the bridge.
“I can’t work out why they haven’t got the Army engineers to put a bridge in and it just seems like it’s taking a long time to get a single iron bridge,” Mr Cutjar said.
“I’m sure if it was the Pacific Highway or something like that it would’ve been done pretty quickly.
He said that the delay was unacceptable given the fact that the bridge was on a national highway.
“It is inconveniencing not only the bus company but other people. We’ve had people who have had to cancel their trips because they were getting dropped off along the way.
“We had an old lady who needed to go to Oodla Wirra and that was going to be a very long trip to go to Adelaide first via Mildura.”
Mr Cutjar said that he hoped the highway would open soon as the bus service was out of pocket due to the extra mileage and from having to cut its services.
“It’s just not viable for us so we’ve dropped the service on the Sunday and Monday,” he said.
“We hope the road will open before Friday the 16th when our St Pat’s coach will depart.”